NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Country star Miranda Lambert is turning her “Wildcard” into an ace as she is the lead nominee at the Country Music Association Awards 2020, including her first entertainer of the year nomination in five years.
The CMAs announced on Tuesday that Lambert has earned seven nominations. The Grammy winner was impressed by the success of songs like ‘Bluebird’, her first country airplay No. 1 in years, and by positive reviews of her smart and cheeky album ‘Wildcard’. Lambert – who has won 13 CMAs in her entire career – makes history this year, breaking the record for the most nominations by a female artist with 55 points in total.
She is followed by Luke Combs, who continues his success as one of country music’s biggest streaming artists with six nominations, including his first for entertainer of the year. Combs earned his first all-genre No. 1 album last year with “What You See Is What You Get,” which had the largest streaming week ever for a country album with 74 million on-demand streams.
‘It’s pretty crazy. It’s shocking to say the least, ”said Combs of his Entertainer of the Year, two years after he was named New Artist of the Year. “You’re a bit in the big leagues.”
Carrie Underwood joins Combs and Lambert in the Entertainer of the Year category, along with Keith Urban and Eric Church. Garth Brooks, who won last year, recently announced that he no longer wanted to be nominated for Entertainer of the Year because it was time for others to win.
Combs’ nominations include album, single, and male vocalist of the year. He has been nominated twice in the “Song of the Year” category for his own song “Even While I’m Leaving” and for co-writing the Carly Pearce-Lee Brice duet “I Hope You’re Happy Now” .
“It’s a dream come true for someone who writes his own stuff,” said Combs. “It was really special that I won that prize last year.”
The CMA Awards will be held in Nashville on November 11.
Dan + Shay’s Dan Smyers has six nominations, including four shared with bandmate Shay Mooney and three with pop star Justin Bieber for their crossover hit “10,000 Hours”. Smyers earned individual nominations for his work as a producer on the song. These are the first CMA nominations for Bieber, who won a CMT Music Award in 2011 for “That Should Be Me” with Rascal Flatts.
Other top nominees include Maren Morris, who scored five nominations, including song and single of the year, for her love song ‘The Bones’. Her song became the longest-running number 1 on Billboard’s Hot country songs chart by a female solo artist since Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together.”
Producer Jay Joyce also earned five nominations for his work on Lambert and Ashley McBryde albums, earning three nominations, including album of the year and singer of the year.
After years of criticism of the lack of women on national radio, there are more women than men in the new artist category, including Pearce, Gabby Barrett and Ingrid Andress. Pearce earned three more nominations for “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” and her producer busbee, who died last year after a battle with cancer, has been nominated posthumously for musical event of the year.
“September marks a year he’s gone,” said Pearce. “I know he’s so proud when I look down how far I’ve come and this was the last song he was working on before he got sick, so it would be huge to take it home for him.”
Barrett, who competed on “American Idol,” earned a single of the year nomination with “I Hope,” a No. 1 country hit and Top 10 chart success. And Andress was nominated for song of the year with “More Hearts Than Mine.” Morgan Wallen and Jimmie Allen round out the new artist nominees.
Notable snubs missing from the nomination list include country icon Tanya Tucker, who earned her first two Grammy Awards this year for her comeback album ‘While I’m Livin’. The Chicks, who returned with their first new album in 14 years, were also not nominated, likely due to a long-standing rift between some country fans and the decidedly female group. Sam Hunt, who released a highly anticipated album this year, was also missing from the nominations.
The coronavirus pandemic likely impacted a number of nominations this year as touring was delayed and some albums delayed. Luke Bryan, who postponed his album past the deadline for this year’s awards ceremony, was not nominated.